State of Mind: Time for a vacation; for everyone
Location: Somewhat subdued supporter couch
September started out with a bang for TFC eh? As in *bang!*, shot to the heart (Bon Jovi earworms for everyone!) for many supporters and fans at around oh the 87th minute of the match in Kansas - I wonder if we can blame Dorothy or some other shoe stealer for our woes against the Wiz? No? Hmm, worth a shot - we've used every other excuse...
As I worked through the long weekend I haven't really had a chance to voice my thoughts on the state of things both on and off the pitch over the past few days. And with no games to discuss for our Reds in the next while due to the International break we've got to find something to talk about...
The Good: It can't all be bad; really.
- Our fragile, broken, tired Reds hung with one of the best teams (if not the best) for most of the game on Saturday. Considering my lowered expectations for any TFC match right now I was surprised that it took 87 minutes for the axe to fall. Was actually thinking they might escape with a point - see, I still have hope!
- No further injuries to the already sparse team occurred.
- Darren O'Dea may just be the real deal back there. I like him more and more each game - especially his highly vocal command of the back line. Really, this could be the beginning of the pieces for our defense.
- RJ's goal. This was actually a pretty nice goal off a lovely ball from Ecks (another huge game from him). Well taken, no hesitation, just great.
- Wiedeman - Yes, I realize my putting him in the good list is a shock considering my issues with his play since the very beginning. But the best 'first touch in the modern era' actually looked good out there. Again showing a ton of energy and making some really nice runs. I still have my doubts - could be a one game wonder. But for now? Welcome to the Good list Andy.
- Vacation! Hey, this has to be on the good list. Those TFC players that haven't been called away for international duty are getting some rest and relaxation time. Here's hoping they return refreshed, rested and focused a week from now.
The Bad: Even when playing out the string there must be drama - it's the TFC way!
- The inevitable loss in the dying minutes of a match. While not surprising (sadly), this just furthers to break the spirit of every fan and supporter. Not to mention the players.
- Torsten Frings' status - After being thrown under the bus by Mariner after the Santos game he was suddenly listed as injured on the MLS injury report. Is it his hip? Or has he been laid low with Dichioitis? Mariner was to have addressed this before the match but instead did a sideline interview during the game and barely explained what the issue was other than yes, he'd injured his hip and hey may not play for the rest of the season - I think that is something we the fans would have preferred to know before the game, don't you think?
- Freddy Hall in net. This is not calling into question his play (although that tying goal? Ugh.) This is about the freezing out of Milos in net. There are lots of rumblings about a contract dispute and that he's been nailed to the bench for asking for more money. And with Frei coming back to the No. 1 spot next season it looks as though Hall is being groomed for the second spot if not already a lock. This is another frustrating end to a player's time with TFC. Whether Kocic is asking for this, it's maddening as a supporter to see what has been the No. 1 keeper since Frei went down be treated as though he's not needed. And maybe come training camp he won't be; but this does nothing but leave a bad taste.
- Subs. While this could go on the Ugly list I'll leave it up here on the Bad list - once again Mariner chose to well not use his bench; at all. As in not one. Boggles the mind just a bit right? When you have a tired squad one would think that the injection of fresh legs could help turn the tide in your favour. I've been vocal in my calls for Avi to see more time and today in an interview with Kurt Larson Mariner states that he hasn't shown the proper attitude in training and in games. Fair enough, if that's true then why keep naming him to the subs bench? Bring up one of the Academy kids and give him an opportunity to play. Putting Avi on the subs bench only to leave him there to prove a point serves no one.
The Ugly: And with a thud we come crashing back down.
- Anselmi is named President and COO of MLSE. Actually this almost went on the Good list. Teflon Tom was never (never, ever, ever) going to be fired. This falls under Ugly because it underscores that our team isn't a CLUB that has a focused owner or vision (I realize this comes as a shock to no one); it's a tiny, insignificant part of a business that TT has managed to squeeze a great deal of money from for his MLSE overlords. Great deal of money = promotions! Simple as that. As many of us loathe this man, this is a bitter pill to swallow; especially after his interview on TSNRadio (not to mention his smarminess during the Winter is gone, Mariner is king presser back in June) in which he - in true Teflon Tom fashion - tries to distance himself from TFC as much as possible and is already laying everything on PM (feel that Paul, that bus heading for you now?). A more frustrating caretaker (and I use that word loosely) for our Reds would be difficult to find. On the Good note - this hopefully will keep him far, far away from TFC going forward. Oh and you MUST check out this hilarious (yet scarily accurate) faux interview with the Teflon Tom himself by Michael Gardner over at Waking The Red.
- Frings is done for the season. Word came today Torsten Frings will have arthroscopic surgery on his hip thus ending his season and likely his time with TFC. This causes me more anger and sadness than just about anything else. A legend in the world of football chooses to come here to finish his career and this is how it ends? Frings has had to deal with several injuries, coaching changes, dwindling fan support, and an embarrassing marketing ploy by TFC in which hundreds of commuters basically ignored him over the course of this season. And now this; a likely career ending injury (because even after surgery and rehab the chances of him coming back are pretty much nil). Depressing to say the least.
One final thing - this could go on the Ugly list but I chose to just address it separately - what I am on about you ask? Supporter and fan sniping. Look, I know that this has been a long, frustrating, depressing and difficult season. And I know that we all have very strong opinions and feelings about the team we love, the players, the coaches, the management; hell sometimes the colour of the kits - but when did we all stop talking to one another like we were all part of the same community? Because that's what we're supposed to be; a community united by our love of football and our team. Instead of coming together as a community to try to make things better, it's become all about who is a "real" supporter, what's the right way to support and it's open season on anyone that has dissenting or negative opinion - regardless of what side of the divide you fall on. I'm not talking about the supporter group forums (that's a whole other kettle of fish), but our favourite method of voicing our opinions; Twitter and blog comment fields.
I disagree with a lot of people (a lot it would seem); and I know there are plenty that don't share my views, but this constant immediate attack on anyone that doesn't share your views on the coach, the players, etc. is getting wearing. I enjoy a spirited discussion as much as the next person and dissecting my team with other fans is something I enjoy. Or at least I did. But it's become less like a discussion and more like a defend yourself or capitulate until you agree sort of shouting match. Some criticism is warranted or we're watching different teams. On the same note being all negative doesn't help either. However, for the most part (other than this blog) I stay out of 'public' discussions most days and instead use messaging or texting for one on one venting - Because more often than not, that's what it is, venting. Watching TFC is a highly emotional experience, venting is required. - or post on game threads where opinions seem to be respected. Otherwise I spend my time getting more frustrated than when I watched or attended a game - instead of commiserating we're hating - enough! Feel free to disagree, voice your opinions and support in whatever way suits you; but remember that we're all part of the same community; that we all want to see our team do well and that (to be completely hokey) we're all in this together. So, see you next week?